Frequently Asked Questions
A federal offender is usually entitled to serve the last third of his or her sentence in the community under statutory release. The date is automatically set at the two-thirds point of the sentence. The purpose of statutory release is to allow offenders to reintegrate themselves into the community under supervision before their sentences expire. Offenders released under statutory release must comply with certain conditions under the supervision of a parole officer.
Failure to obey a condition could mean suspension and revocation of the statutory release. This could result in a return to prison. If the statutory release is revoked, 2/3 of the remaining sentence must be spent in prison, before a further release during the 1/3 of the remaining sentence.
Parole is not an automatic process like statutory release. The National Parole Board has the discretion to grant or deny the release of any eligible inmate. Most offenders become eligible for full parole after serving 1/3 or seven years of their sentences. However, judges are able to lengthen the time certain violent offenders and serious drug offenders spend in prison by delaying the eligibility for parole until they have served 1/2 of their sentence. This is called judicial determination. It applies only where offenders have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of two years or more. Also, in certain circumstances, non-violent offenders may be granted full parole after 1/6 of their sentence.
When considering any form of conditional release, the Parole Board conducts an investigation of:
A number of mandatory conditions apply to all persons who are on parole and statutory release:
In addition to these mandatory conditions, the inmate may have to obey some special conditions designed to control behaviour and encourage the successful completion of the period of supervision.
Suspension of parole occurs because of a violation of the release conditions, conviction for a new offence, or because there are reasonable grounds to believe that the parolee is returning to criminal activity and is a risk to the public.
Victims of crime are recognized in the federal corrections and parole process. They will be kept informed of an offender’s prison and parole status, if requested. Information from victims can be considered at a parole hearing at the discretion of the National Parole Board. Also, victims can apply for financial assistance to attend the Parole Board hearings of their offender.